Harry Kane scored a hat-trick from the bench to help Tottenham win 5-1 in the Europa Conference League over Mura.
The English striker was called up alongside Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura to calm his nerves after the Spurs let their initial grip on the game slip.
A penalty from Dele Alli and a fine shot from Giovani Lo Celso had given control to Nuno Espirito Santo’s men early on, but a fantastic volley from Ziga Kous gave the Slovenian team a lifeline and made the a little nervous for the hosts.
That was until Kane’s clinical conclusions killed the match and ensured that no further pressure was exerted on the Spurs boss, whose stance was scrutinized following a humiliating 3-1 defeat to Arsenal.
1995 – Harry Kane is the first Tottenham player to score a substitute hat-trick since Ronny Rosenthal against Southampton in the FA Cup in March 1995. Cameo.
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 30, 2021
The Spurs were in control with just eight minutes on the clock. Alli converted from the spot after being knocked down by goalkeeper Matko Obradovic, and Lo Celso’s fine run and shot from a tight angle led to the 2-0.
They did little to increase their lead in front of a scattered crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Mura sensed the possibility of a 53-minute shock comeback as Kous fired in a superb shot from the edge of the box that bounced off the net.
Nuno then made the significant change, Lucas slid the ball into the box to meet Kane’s run, who scored a good finish behind Obradovic.
Kane doubled up with 14 minutes left, duly to the side after Son jumped into space and cut the ball back from the left, and completed his hat-trick by shooting low at Obradovic’s goal after a precise through ball from Lo Celso.
What does it mean? The Spurs lead the group G
After drawing 2-2 with Rennes on Matchday 1, Spurs are now leading their group with four points, beating Ligue 1 by goal difference.
Thursday’s game also allowed Kane a useful run out, especially as the striker has yet to score in the Premier League this season.
The shape of his talisman could be the key if Nuno wants to stave off critics in the coming weeks.
While not the strongest opposition Kane will face, his cameo has allowed him to hone his skills after a difficult start to the season in the wake of Manchester City’s unsuccessful attempts to sign him.
The timing of his runs was key to his opportunities, which he took with his usual balance.
Nuno will face tougher trials
Anything other than a win here would raise serious questions about Nuno’s future as a Spurs manager, and it will be a slight concern that he found it necessary to call three of his key first-team players in the second half to ensure victory.
His credentials will face a tougher test over the weekend in his team’s last game before the national team break.
Spurs will look to end a three-game losing streak in the Premier League when they face Aston Villa at home on Sunday.